Matt Mossholder on 6 Aug 2011 05:31:29 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Comcast going all digital for me

On Sat, Aug 6, 2011 at 1:40 AM, JP Vossen <> wrote:
Up to now, I've had the $20/mo "limited basic" *analog* Comcast service, and that works perfectly for my analog tuner card and MythTV. ÂBut I just got the letter I've been dreading from Comcast that I have until 2011-09-13 to order some stuff because they are going all digital in Collegeville, PA.

The question is, what do I need to do and have to make this new stuff work with my current MythTV setup? Â(Stock Mythbuntu 10.04 LTS, if it matters, not using the Mythbuntu upstream PPA/repo [5], for backward compatibility with MediaMVP/mvpmc boxes, which are now dead anyway, I guess.)

I know I need a digital tuner and I was planning on getting an HD Homerun [1] Real Soon Now anyway. ÂBased on reading the Comcast FAQs [3], and as expected, the 3 free "digital adapters" I can get will require a remote control to change the channel, which rather defeats Myth. ÂMore on CableCARDs, which we talked about here recently, below.

<Goes to and Googles for a while>

OK, sanity check. says:
   Â"For the Comcast Digital Migration, will I need equipment if I have a digital TV with a QAM tuner?"
   Â"If you currently have a Digital QAM tuner, you will be able to continue to receive Limited Basic Cable channels and do not need a digital device.  All televisions, including those using QAM tuners, will not be able to view Expanded Basic channels without a digital device or CableCardâ"
   Â"Can I record Limited Basic channels without my digital equipment?"
   Â"... However, in select markets [pretty sure that's me], Comcast is also migrating the Limited Basic channel lineup to an all-digital format. In these markets, you will need a digital device (cable box, digital adapter, or CableCardâ device), or a television with a digital QAM tuner to view and record programming in the Limited Basic channel lineup. ..."

So I'm pretty sure the $130 HDHR3-US that is now down to $108 [1], will Just Work for what I want (basic networks and PBS). ÂTrue? ÂAnything going to bite me? Â(Besides disk space?)

I'm guessing the HDHR3-US price dropped because the $250 HDHR3-CC (CableCARD ready, but with limited support in MythTV starting with 0.24 [2]) is almost--but not quite--on sale. ÂHummm, does CableCARD even do anything for me if I have "limited basic" service?

So what I think I want to do is:
1) Order the 3 digital adapters from Comcast, for my older TVs and just in case.
2) Order the HDHR3-US now, and get it fired up and working ASAP.
3) Check in with SchedulesDirect and double-check my settings [4].
4) Maybe in the future:
   ÂSwitch to the Mythbuntu repos (for 0.24+)
   ÂOrder the HDHR3-CC and a CableCARD (if useful)
   ÂOrder bigger hard drives (have 1.8TB RAID1 now)

Am I missing anything?

[1] HDHR3-US

[2] HDHR3-CC

[3] Digital Adapter stuff:

[4] "Will my channel numbers change due to the Comcast Digital Migration?"
   Â"No. ÂWith the Digital Migration, there will be no changes to the existing channel numbers."



A couple of things, which you seem to know, but might be worth expanding upon:

1) While you do need something that can use the digital feed, it doesn't NEED to be a new tuner. You could also get what Comcast calls a DTA, which is a small (paperback sized) box that does the tuning for you, and use your existing capture cards with those. This requires using IR blaster(s) to change the channel on the DTAs. The DTAs are free from Comcast.

2) The HDHomerun's that use Cable Cards are new, and I am still watching people have all sorts of fun with both those, and the Ceton PCIe cards, Âon the mythtv-users list. Most of the issues seem to revolve around getting the cards provisioned correctly, but a few people have also run into bad Cable Cards. There is a fee (I have heard $1.50/mo) for renting the Cable Cards.

3) The only channels you will receive are the ones in clear QAM. The actual channels you will receive is kind of a mixed bag, and WILL NOT be the same as you would get with the DTAs. You will get all the Infomercial channels, I am sure, and the local channels, but anything beyond that is pretty random.

4) Comcast doesn't transmit the channel information in a manner that can be interpreted by MythTV. You will have to do a channel scan, and manually tell it which frequency/program ID matches to which "channel" in the listings.

 Â --Matt

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